Liverpool star Alisson to miss Super Cup clash with Chelsea

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah vies with Norwich City’s Jamal Lewis during Friday’s English Premier League match. (Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2019

Liverpool star Alisson to miss Super Cup clash with Chelsea

  • Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick fires Manchester City to West Ham rout

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool could be without inspirational goalkeeper Alisson Becker for a number of weeks after the Brazilian suffered a calf injury in Friday’s 4-1 thrashing of Norwich to kick off the Premier League season in style.

The European champions are aiming to end a 30-year wait to win the Premier League after missing out by only one point to Manchester City last season and laid down an early marker in the title race by racing into a 4-0 lead before half-time.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley's hapless own goal just seven minutes in set the tone for what could be a long season for the Canaries before Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi netted as Liverpool shot out of the blocks.

However, the Reds’ joy was curtailed when Alisson pulled up after kicking the ball clear from a routine goal kick and needed support to limp off the field.

“Nothing bad to say about the game apart from Ali's injury,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who confirmed his No. 1 will miss Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Chelsea in Istanbul.

“We have to see how serious it is and deal with it.”

Alisson kept 20 clean sheets in his first Premier League season and was also instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph.

Spanish goalkeeper Adrian only joined Liverpool this week on a free transfer after Simon Mignolet departed to join Club Brugge.

But the former West Ham stopper could now have a huge role to play in the coming weeks to ensure Klopp’s men cede no early ground in the title race to City with tricky matches against Southampton and Arsenal to come.

Friday’s game was already won before Alisson departed as from Origi’s low cross, Hanley’s wild hack at a clearance flashed beyond Tim Krul in the Norwich goal.

A Golden Boot winner in each of the past two seasons, Salah then opened his account for the season with a calm finish from Roberto Firmino’s pass on 19 minutes.

Despite a comfortable lead, Klopp was soon ranting at his players for letting their guard down as only a brilliant save from Alisson prevented Marco Stiepermann from halving Norwich’s deficit.

Seconds later and it was 3-0 as Norwich’s dreadful defending was exposed again to leave Van Dijk free to head home from a Salah corner.

West Ham loss

Manchester City made a flying start to their Premier League title defense as Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick inspired a 5-0 demolition of West Ham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side, which racked up 98 points to beat Liverpool by a point last season, rarely looked like getting out of second gear with a measured performance at London’s Olympic Stadium.


Tokyo to skip one-year Olympic countdown over coronavirus: organizers

Updated 05 June 2020

Tokyo to skip one-year Olympic countdown over coronavirus: organizers

  • Games pushed back until July 23, 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak

TOKYO: Tokyo will scrap events marking a year to go until the postponed 2020 Olympic Games, organizers said Friday, citing the “current economic situation” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Games have been pushed back until July 23, 2021 because of the disease outbreak, though it remains unclear whether even that delay will be sufficient.
Last year, the city and organizers held a series of events to mark the one-year countdown, including unveiling the newly designed medals.
But given the global crisis, organizers ruled out a similar celebration.
“In view of the current economic situation, Tokyo 2020 will not be holding any events to mark the new one year to go milestone for the Games,” the organizers said.
“But we will consider what we can do to show our solidarity with the people.”
The confirmation came after reports in the Japanese media that organizers would scrap the event, fearing it was inappropriate given the global pandemic and the ongoing risk of infection inside Japan.
Kyodo News agency reported that posters and messages of encouragement to athletes might be put up and displayed online instead, adding that the organizing committee felt a more “moderate tone” was appropriate.
A nationwide state of emergency over the virus has been lifted in Japan, but a recent rise in cases in Tokyo has led to fears of a second wave.
The latest reports come after Tokyo’s governor confirmed the city and organizers are looking at ways to scale back next year’s Games.
Japanese media said streamlining plans could involve cutting the number of spectators and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies.
The Yomiuri Shimbun daily quoted an unnamed source as saying that everyone including athletes, officials and spectators would be required to take a test for the virus.
Tokyo 2020 declined to comment on those reports, saying discussions about coronavirus countermeasures would be held “from this autumn onwards.”
Organizers and Tokyo officials face the twin headaches of ensuring the postponed Games can be held safely, given the pandemic, and keeping additional costs to a minimum.
But with the pandemic continuing to rage in much of the world, it remains unclear whether the Games can be held next year.
On Friday, a member of the organizing committee’s executive board said a decision on whether the Games could be held or not would need to be taken in spring.
“I think we need to decide around March next year,” Toshiaki Endo, a former Olympic minister told reporters, denying speculation that the IOC intends to make a decision in October.
IOC chief Thomas Bach said last month that 2021 was the “last option” for holding the Tokyo Games, stressing that postponement cannot go on forever.
He declined to say whether a vaccine was a prerequisite for going ahead with the Olympics, but was lukewarm on the idea of holding them behind closed doors.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said it would be “difficult” to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympics if the coronavirus pandemic is not contained.
And Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori has said the Olympics would have to be canceled if the disease isn’t under control by next year.